PersonalBrain imports

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The main article on PersonalBrain import is Importing from PersonalBrain. This article covers unexpected events during import.  

Errors in Topicscape when importing a PersonalBrain ".pba" file

Important note about exporting from PersonalBrain:

PB does not tell you when the export finishes, and it is easy to think it's done when in fact it has not. A count of 'thoughts' exported shows at the top of the PersonalBrain window, but when that shows that all thoughts have been exported, the export process still has to compress and store all the files from the PB in the .pba file that it is producing.

This often takes much longer than the 'thoughts' export. One reliable way of ensuring that it has finished is to right-click on the PBA file, select Properties and note the file size. Wait a minute, and do the same again. If the file sizes are the same, the exported PBA file is ready for import to Topicscape.

The effect in Topicscape of trying to import an incomplete .pba file are unpredictable and depend on the state the .pba file was in when export was stopped prematurely.

You may see error messages about incompatible Brain files, a message that just says "H2", or the import process may hang. If any of these occur, please export the Brain again, following the guidelines above.

After I have imported a file from Personal Brain . . .

". . . I find that there are many topics not in the body of my Topicscape, but attached to Topicscape Islands instead. How can I make this work properly?"

There are two ways this can happen. The first is that recent versions of PB allow unconnected islands of thoughts, so Topicscape is just reflecting the reality of the connections in your Personal Brain. Having them under Topicscape Islands makes them much easier to find.

There is another way this can happen, though, even if you are sure all the thoughts in your PB are connected: Some versions of PB do not properly export all relationships if you have never traversed them - for example if you just converted from an old version of PB. To overcome this, please ensure that you have the version of PersonalBrain with the "indexing libraries" and you have allowed them to index the Brain before exporting to a ".pba" file.

We read of an alternative workaround and it's not too bad, we found, if you don't have the indexing libraries version. Start PB with the Brain you're going to export, set it to Options | Wander and leave it running overnight. Then export to a .pba file.

I'm importing a large PersonalBrain and it's taking several hours. Is this normal?

We can suggest several possible reasons, and maybe they even apply together.

  1. You have indexing software running, like Windows Desktop Search, Google Desktop or X1
  2. The Brain is in an encrypted folder, or the new Topicscape will be in an encrypted folder - or both.
  3. If you are about to import a large Brain, and you use any indexing software to support rapid search, please turn it off or even unload it from memory until both the Export from Brain and the Import to Topicscape is complete. With a big Brain, any such service will spend a lot of time indexing intermediate files that are shortly going to disappear, taking up memory, disk capacity and processor power, and generally wasting your time and space. You can restart the indexer when the Topicscape has been made and the indexes will then be limited to useful material.
  4. If for security or privacy, your PB files or Topicscapes are held in encrypted folders, that will add a lot to export and import times, and the extra time taken is compounded if indexing is active. When you access individual encrypted files, the time taken is often not noticeable. But it can have a noticeable effect when you are moving large numbers of files around, and packing them into one large file, as Brain does when making an export .pba file.
  5. We suggest you use unencrypted folders until the export and import are done - then encrypt them if your security or privacy demand it.
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